Review: Passion—Even So Come (Live)
David Austin Black
Passion is an organization that has been organizing gatherings of believers in Christ for the purpose of worship since 1997. For quite some time now, Passion has been annually releasing live worship recordings from their conferences. Passion: Even So Come (Live) is the latest of these live worship recordings. As with previous Passion albums, Chris Tomlin, Kristen Stanfill, Crowder, and Matt Redman are present, along with a few newcomers to the Passion scene. Listeners are met with basically the same formula from previous Passion recordings, but I suppose Passion is following the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While definitely not broken, is it still fresh enough to attract old and new listeners alike?
Chris Tomlin seems to be the one constant when it comes to Passion albums, at least from the early 2000’s forward. He leads three songs in this worship recording, and they are all Chris Tomlin, through-and-through. Fairly standard musical fare coupled with predictable lyrics, so much so that with almost every Tomlin song I’m able to sing the entire next line after hearing it’s beginning word. For congregational worship, this could very well be a good thing. However, those such as I who are very familiar with Contemporary Christina Music (CCM), there may be expressions of worship through better use of art.
The songs led by Crowder on this recording are, like Tomlin, music one is able to immediately associate with Crowder from the very first note. “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner” is a riff-tastic, southern-esque anthem. It’s a superb song to bring some energy to the album, and it is a contrast with his second track, entitled “Wonder.” On “Wonder,” Crowder leads a song about being so in awe of the sheer greatness of our God. It’s one of the highlights of the album, and is awesome for worship or just listening.
Drum-centered tracks seem to be what Kristen Stanfill has been gravitating towards recently. Both “Shout Hosanna” and “You Found Me” are pretty generic Stanfill worship music. While not bad music, it’s not anything spectacular. I enjoy Stanfill’s voice, and feel he is a great worship leader like every other individual on Passion: Even So Come (Live), but I wish that there would be some originality in his music every once in a while. When you can listen to one song from an artist and you have pretty much heard them all, there is a problem.
While not a new song, Melodie Malone’s rendition of “Forever” is the singular best feature of this Passion recording. It’s beautiful, as hearing a crowd sing along in pure worship of our Savior is without compare. “My Anchor” by Christy Nockels is worth mentioning as well. Although it seems like much of Christian music has had a sudden desire to use that particular naval instrument in song titles, listeners to this one will not be disappointed. My favorite lyrics on this entire album are found here: “I hold onto you/ And You hold onto me.” While simple, they are sincere and passionate.
In conclusion, Passion: Even So Come (Live) is hit-and-miss. Particular songs are great, while others are, for lack of better words, lacking innovation. I wish more Christian music artists would break away from tried-and-true formulas in order to explore different ways of expressing their worship. Even so (see what I did there?), this album is another decent release from Passion. It’s what we’ve come to expect, and whether that is a positive or a negative will depend on the individual listener.
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+ Crowder's versatility is refreshing
+ Songs are great for congregational worship
+ Rendition of "Forever" is spectacular
- Nothing new
- Lack of originality